Since November 23, 2016, the state of Tennessee has been dealing with deadly wildfires. Entire communities have been destroyed because of the blaze, and the death toll is now above 10.
The Holmes family had to evacuate their home in Sevier County due to the fires. Sadly, they could not take their pet pig, Charles, with them when they left.
They weren’t sure if he would make it on his own, but they hoped his natural survival instincts would help him.
After the fires subsided, the Holmes family received a phone call from a neighbor who decided to stick it out. He had good news for them.
“He says, ‘There’s nothing left,’” says Rob Holmes, Charles’ owner, in the video below. “He says, ‘When I say nothing, it’s just ashes, but there is some good news. Charles is still there.’”
The family knew immediately they had to go get him.
“The next morning, I didn’t care what it took,” Rob says. “I went to rescue him.”
When the family arrived, they found Charles patiently waiting for them safe and sound.
No part of their home was standing, but Charles managed to survive by burrowing deep into the mud during the fires. He suffered first- and third-degree burns and smoke inhalation, which required a vet’s attention, but he’s being seen by a University of Tennessee veterinarian and doing well.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a feeling like that before,” says Andrea Holmes, Rob’s daughter. “It’s like hearing your family member with cancer made it out.”
The family sadly lost everything in the fire, but to them, having Charles back is more than enough.
“We’re living in a hotel. We’re basically left with the clothes that we have. We have nothing, we’ve lost all of our possessions, but none of that matters,” Holmes says. “We’ve got something more and more important. we’ve got our family, we’ve got love.”